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Voxy raises $12 million to roll out its e-learning English app in emerging markets

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Learning a new language can feel very academic, which is why Voxy turned this experience into a more practical one by drawing content from real world news, events, and locations. The edtech startup announced today new funding of $12 million to further develop its e-learning app.

“Rather than teaching phrases that are not relevant to our learners’ needs, like ‘Janie kicks the ball’, we deliver real English content that is updated daily,” wrote Voxy CEO Paul Gollash, in an email to VentureBeat. Voxy’s users study with videos of people accomplishing daily tasks, audio recordings of real-life situations, karaoke-style music lessons, and current news stories.

Available as a subscription service, Voxy targets schools, corporations, and individuals through its website and mobile apps (available on both Android and iOS). 116 institutional customers have signed up, including AT&T, Walmart, Reuters, Bosch, and the U.S. Department of State. In its statement, Voxy specifically points to one customer, Grundfos, a water pump manufacturer that wants to facilitate English communication between its 18,000 employees based in 80 different countries.

Gollash considers traditional publishing companies and brick-and-mortar language schools as competitors. Although he did not name any specific ones, companies like Kaplan and Pearson are some of the bigger names in this sector. Pearson actually led Voxy’s last funding round of $8.5 million and has a minority stake in the startup. Even though there are no current talks of acquisition for Voxy, Pearson has already acquired several education-related startups, such as Learning Catalytics, ExamDesign, and Schoolnet.

SJF Ventures led today’s round, with new investor Inherent Group joining in. Existing investors Rethink Education, Contour Venture Partners, Weld North, and GSV Acceleration also participated. This brings Voxy’s total raised to $39 million. The startup will use the new injection of capital to hire more people and increase sales and marketing. It will also expand its reach in emerging markets across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Launched in 2010, Voxy has 50 employees working in its New York City headquarters and São Paulo, Brazil office.

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